Make it 4-for-4 for Indiana with the McCullough family.
Dasan McCullough, a 2022 four-star linebacker originally committed to Ohio State, has flipped to the Hoosiers. He follows his younger brother Daeh, a 2023 safety prospect, and his older brother Deland II, a redshirt freshman transfer from Miami (Ohio), in choosing the Hoosiers’ program.
They are all sons of running backs coach Deland McCullough, also the associate head coach, who rejoined IU in February after three years with the Kansas City Chiefs and one season at Southern California. He previously coached at IU from 2011-16.
“I’m staying home,” Dasan said in a statement posted to Twitter. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity I refuse to pass up. The chance to play under the man I looked up to my whole life is truly amazing, along with the opportunity to play with my best friends, Daeh, who has the chance to be special and I get a chance to watch and play with, and my oldest brother, Deland, simply the reason I wear No. 1 on my jersey and continue to play the game.”
Respect it or not. I do not care. pic.twitter.com/XyCDd1kshe
— Dasan Mccullough ¹ (@Dasan2022) April 25, 2021
The fate of Dasan, now considered one of the top prospects in the state of Indiana, has been speculated about since his family’s return to Bloomington. He reaffirmed his commitment to OSU in the days following his father’s hire, telling Hayes Fawcett it was “going to feel good beating him for 3-4 years.”
But subsequent decisions made by Daeh and Deland II to attend IU did nothing to quell rumors. And, inevitably, Dasan changed his mind. In fact, Deland II was on the phone with Dasan on Saturday night.
“I could tell he was leaning that way because I know how much family means to him,” Deland II said. “It would be different if we were all committed to different schools. But if we’re all at one school and he’s at a different school, he didn’t feel like that was right.”
“I don’t think it was very tough for him,” Deland II added. “He made a family decision. He wanted to do something with his family.”
LEO…at its finest!!! pic.twitter.com/g0XzPnNiC1
— Deland McCullough (@coachdmc) April 25, 2021
Even if this comes via a family connection, it’s a huge recruiting win for IU coach Tom Allen. A long athlete at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Dasan has experience at safety but his body has matured into more of a linebacker’s frame. He has often been compared to former Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who was the No. 8 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals last year.
Ranked by the 247Sports composite as the No. 50 overall player in the country, as well as the No. 6 “athlete” nationally, Dasan was likewise offered by the best football programs in the country. His scholarship list included Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, and Notre Dame, just to name a few. In the Big Ten, East Division foes Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State were all in pursuit.
IU came out on top, giving the Hoosiers two linebackers to start their 2022 class. Kaiden Turner, a three-star from Fayetteville, Ark., had been the Hoosiers’ only commit for 2022, along with two highly-rated players in the ’23 class, edge-rusher Denzel Moore and Daeh McCullough.
Daeh, a 6-2, 195-pound defensive back, is the No. 78 player nationally in his class and the No. 2 player in Indiana, according to 247Sports, just behind Andrean linebacker Drayk Brown. Dasan is just behind Charlestown offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin, a Kentucky commit, for the No. 1 slot in Indiana in 2022.
If the recruiting rankings for Dasan and Daeh hold up, and they both follow through and sign with IU in their respective years, they would be the two highest-rated recruits to join the Hoosiers this century. According to 247Sports’ database, which goes back to 2000, IU’s most highly rated recruit is defensive lineman Stephen Williams, who was ranked No. 109 nationally. Sampson James, also a former OSU commit, is the second-highest at No. 181.
— Charlton Warren (@CoachCwarren) April 25, 2021
Before Dasan and Daeh suit up for IU, they will play for Bloomington South this fall. They transferred in from Blue Valley North (Kan.), which was the final prep stop for their older brother Deland II, who started his prep career at Bloomington North during Deland’s first stint at IU.
“That is a rare breed kid right there,” South coach Gabe Johnson said of Dasan. “Just in talking to him, outside linebacker is going to be his fit in college. … That kind of size roaming the middle of the field, he’s impactful and powerful enough and aggressive enough to play up at a linebacker spot, as well as cover a tight end and give him problems.
“He catches your eye, for sure, when you see him for the first time.”
What has also been apparent to Johnson is how close Daeh and Dasan are as brothers. They are a unit in the weight room and on the field in offseason drills. And if you ask them who set the standard for their work ethic, they point to Deland II. He would often come up to IU’s campus to work out as a kid, bringing his younger brothers along with him.
“I think it’s very much a family affair for them, football is,” Johnson said.
Now, all three McCulloughs may be on the field at the same time for IU’s defense in the coming years.
“I hope and pray it happens,” Deland II said, “and it looks like it could, too.”
The trifecta https://t.co/Tb47844m4H
— Deland McCullough II (@iam_Dm2) April 25, 2021